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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

GM Rams $150 Million into Flint Plant to Up HD Truck Production

Move marks second big truck investment in a month.

by on Jun.12, 2019

General Motors President Mark Reuss touted the "opportunities" available to the company with the $150 million investment the Flint Assembly plant.

General Motors is in the business of building trucks and if the company’s move to invest $150 million into its truck plant in Flint, Michigan, is any indication, business is good.

Just last month, the company announced plans to invest $24 million into its Ft. Wayne, Indiana plant to help expand its light-duty truck production. Today’s announcement is to ramp up production of GM’s heavy-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

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“We have tremendous opportunities to grow our heavy-duty pickup business, because we’ve invested in capability, performance, innovation and capacity,” said Mark Reuss, GM president. (more…)

Musk Hypes Tesla Performance, Future to Shareholders

CEO suggests a Tesla with a 400-mile range is coming soon.

by on Jun.12, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told shareholders that the company would likely set a new production record in the second quarter.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk walked into the EV maker’s annual meeting facing a slew of tough questions and, as usual, overwhelmed attendees with a slew of positives resulting in enough happy investors to see the stock jump above $220 a share to start the day.

However, the enthusiasm of the previous night’s meeting wasn’t enough to sustain the momentum and the stock fell nearly 6% to just over $211 a share in mid-day trading.

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The brash leader of the world’s biggest seller of battery electric vehicles swept aside concerns about ongoing issues with crashes involving Autopilot, day-to-day funding of the company and demand for the company’s first mainstream vehicles. (more…)

Toyota, SoftBank Preparing Launch of Self-Driving Venture

Monet looks compete with other autonomous entities.

by on Jun.12, 2019

Monet Technologies, led by CEO Junichi Miyakawa, will operate the new self-driving joint venture created by Toyota Motor and SoftBank.

Toyota Motor and its partner SoftBank plan to begin operating a self-driving venture, originated by Monet, in Southeast Asia in 2020.

The move would mark a shift for Japan’s third biggest telco as it looks abroad for growth and potentially bring it into competition with portfolio companies of parent SoftBank Group Corp. and its $100 billion Vision Fund, which has invested in major ride-hailing firms around the world.

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Monet, which is developing an on-demand self-driving service platform, is planning to export a basic version of the system, Chief Executive Junichi Miyakawa told Reuters. (more…)

Gas Prices Expected to Take a Big Tumble

Prices could fall as much as 16 cents in once week.

by on Jun.11, 2019

Gas prices are expected to drop significantly in the next week, according to GasBuddy.com.

Gas prices in the U.S. are behaving like all good rollercoasters: a big drop that thrills the riders is coming.

According to GasBuddy.com, the price of gas could drop by an average 16 cents a gallon nationwide in the next week. Prices at the pump have been on the decline for the last few weeks. In fact prices around Houston are about $2 a gallon, the website notes.

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“Last week saw a feat most motorists probably thought they’d never see in June- average gasoline prices declined in nearly every state across the country with the national average now at its lowest point since early April,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.  (more…)

Two Major Public Charging Companies Team Up

Goal is to make EV charging easier, more affordable.

by on Jun.11, 2019

ChargePoint and Electrify America are partnering to allow users of their charging networks to use both now at no additional cost.

Imagine trying to travel if you could only fill up your tank on one brand of gasoline – or had to pay a stiff premium if you pulled into some other brand’s station. That has been more the norm than the exception for EV owners, another reason why some potential buyers have been reluctant to plug in.

Now, however, the various charging companies that will depend on building up a market are starting to team up. Electrify America and ChargePoint today announced a roaming partnership that will let their customers plug in at each other’s stations and not have to pay additional fees or set up separate accounts.

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The move could mean substantial savings while also making it easier to find a place to plug in. Together, the two companies already operate more than 30,000 Level 2 and Level 3 quick chargers across the U.S., with thousands more expected to open in just the next year. (more…)

First Look: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250

A small SUV with room for seven.

by on Jun.11, 2019

Mercedes-Benz had a gap in its utility line-up between the GLA and GLC. There isn't one anymore with the debut of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB.

There’s a war out there among luxury automakers, the Germans, in particular, determined to fire a new model into every possible bit of “white space.” Nowhere is that more apparent than over in Stuttgart where Mercedes-Benz has rolled out an array of new offerings, including its first long-range all-electric model, the EQC, which was previewed at the New York International Auto Show a couple months back.

Now, Mercedes has pulled the wraps off yet another significant new offering: the even more downsized GLB, which was previewed at an event in Utah overnight. Slotted in-between the GLA and GLC models, the downsized crossover appears to have plenty going for it, including an array of tech features that should appeal to young buyers. But there’s another surprising plus. Despite its diminutive footprint, the GLB manages to offer seating for up to seven passengers.

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It’s the first three-row offering from the Stuttgart-based automaker in this segment and, considering the market demand for seven-seaters, could gain a leg up on its two-row competition. (more…)

Trump Administration Rejects Carmakers Pleas on Emissions

California at odds with federal government.

by on Jun.11, 2019

President Donald Trump thought he would win industry support from leaders about CAFE cuts but instead has seen opposition.

The Trump administration has turned down an auto industry request to find a compromise with the State of California on emission rules for new vehicles.

The Los Angeles Times reported the administration is moving forward with plans to weaken vehicle pollution rules, rejecting a last-minute appeal from the world’s largest car manufacturers to restart negotiations with California.

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The companies warned Trump the proposed plan to rollback anti-pollution regulations, fuel-economy standards could produce untenable instability for the industry that could hurt car companies’ bottom lines. (more…)

Tesla Workers Less Keen on EV Maker than Last Year

EV maker not sweating the satisfaction slide.

by on Jun.10, 2019

Tesla took 5,000 orders for the Model 3 last week, Musk said, but ultimately its production goal is 10,000 a week.

Tesla employees expressed concerned about layoffs and executive losses in feedback to Glassdoor.com.

Tesla Inc.’s employees aren’t enjoying their jobs as much as they once did citing concerns about potential layoffs, executive turnover and changing corporate strategy, according to two job websites that track these rankings.

The Palo Alto, California-based EV maker placed 16th on LinkedIn’s annual “Top Companies 2019” list, which came out in April. That’s a significant decline from its fifth-place spot last year and sixth place in 2017.

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Meanwhile, Tesla’s overall company rating at Glassdoor.com fell to 3.2 out of 5.0 stars based on reviews written in the first quarter of this year. That’s down from its high-water mark of 3.6 in 2017, according to historical data compiled by Glassdoor at Reuters’ request. The average rating of the nearly 1 million employers reviewed on the site is 3.4.  (more…)

Ford Shuttering UK Engine Plant, Selling Russian Factories

Brexit driving automakers out of United Kingdom.

by on Jun.10, 2019

Ford is shutting down its Bridgend, South Wales, UK plant due to Brexit-related issues.

Ford Motor Co. is closing its engine factory in the United Kingdom as part of an overhaul of its unprofitable European operations while also selling off its factories in Russia.

The shutdown of the Bridgend, South Wales plant, which employs more than 1,500 workers and builds engines for several Ford models in Europe, including the Fiesta and B-Max, comes amid the turmoil spawned by Brexit.

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Automakers have said Brexit will make it more expensive and more difficult to import components from the European Union. (more…)

BMW Opens $1 Billion Plant in Mexico

Automaker opens site despite Trump administration's tariff threats.

by on Jun.10, 2019

BMW opened its $1 billion plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, despite the turmoil surrounding the Trump administration's tariff threats.

Amid the turmoil about U.S. tariffs on Mexican made goods, the BMW Group dedicated its newest assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

“The new plant in San Luis Potosi is an important pillar of the BMW Group’s global production strategy. We aim to achieve a balance in our production and sales in the different world regions,” Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Production, said during the ceremony.

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“We want to strengthen our footprint in important and growing markets. San Luis Potosi will significantly boost our regional production flexibility in the Americas. From here, we are delivering our locally produced BMW 3 Series sedan to customers worldwide.” (more…)